I also read some negative opinions on Pax comfort, specially in premium, compared to wider spaces offered by WBs. Well, CAPA just released a laudative article, behind paywall, on lie-flat on Long Haul Narrow Bodies (LHNBs) in J. The public introduction states :
The number of airlines offering lie-flat seats on narrowbody aircraft is increasing rapidly, providing better options for corporates in a wide range of markets. The introduction of new generation narrowbody aircraft, including the A321neoLR and in future the recently launched A321neoXLR, is a game changer as it enables airlines to operate long haul narrowbody routes efficiently in low density premium-focused configurations.
There are currently 13 airlines operating narrowbody aircraft with lie-flat business class seats, compared to only eight airlines 15 months ago.
Five airlines have introduced lie-flat narrowbody aircraft since May-2018, kicking off a new trend which is expected to accelerate as more network airlines take delivery of A321neoLRs, A321neoXLRs, 737 MAX 8s, 737 MAX 9s and 737 MAX 10s.
The five recent adopters are Philippine Airlines (PAL), Panama’s Copa, Saudia, France’s La Compagnie and TAP Air Portugal. Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is planning to put its first lie-flat narrowbody aircraft into service in Oct-2019, followed by Bahrain’s Gulf Air in early 2020.
While the likes of La Compagnie will be all J configured, other airlines will add Y at the back, meaning that LHNBs are developping fast in the two big classes. Most won't have lie flat seats, just normal J & Y or Yplus.
I don't wish to speculate too much on what routes can or cannot be opened with them, or which can get more frequency, but rather extend the topic to all LHNB traffic ( thinking of actually coining that acronym ) & how it can be a game changer per the following questions :
1) What distant premium city pairs are yet underserved because LH WBs are just too big ?
2) What medium-sized airlines can grab market share with LHNBs ?
3) What routes will these LHNBs bypass superconnextors like IST, DXB, AUH, DOH, LHR, SIN, PTY ?
4) Will LHNBs affect legacies' LH network ? if so, how ?
5) Industrially, how do these models actually prevent Boeing from profitably launching a MOM ?
With Airbus having the 338neo ( still not selling well ), and the A321neoLR/XLR, they do have on paper an appropirate offer.
6) Other strategic leads ? or thoughts ?